You are undoubtedly shaken up, worried, and stressed if you have been injured in an accident.
It is only human to worry about missing work and losing income while medical bills pile up.
Even if the accident or injuries appear minor, you might be entitled to compensation if someone else’s fault causes your injury.
However, it is not quite as simple as it might sound.
The party at-fault does not typically hand over money just because someone accuses them of causing an accident.
You will likely have to file a personal injury claim. The personal injury claims process can be difficult, lengthy, and more complex than you may think.
In this article, our New Mexico personal injury lawyers discuss the step-by-step guide to filing a personal injury claim.
7 Steps to Filing a New Mexico Personal Injury Claim
Every case is unique, and the exact trajectory of an accident victim’s case can vary. However, below are the 7 general steps to filing a personal injury claim.
Notably, the precise sequence of these steps can also vary.
1. Seek Medical Treatment
After being involved in an accident, you should seek medical attention. The type and course of treatment will differ from individual to individual.
It may include emergency room treatment immediately following the accident. Your medical treatment may include a trip to your primary care doctor, physical therapy, or surgical care.
It is also essential to remember injuries are not always immediately apparent following an accident.
Sometimes injuries manifest over time. If you are experiencing pain or symptoms, you should get medical attention.
2. Gather Documentation
Following an accident, you should document what you can if you are able.
This may include taking pictures, writing the exact location, speaking to potential witnesses, and much more.
Preparing and gathering documentation may also include compiling your medical records for any treatment you have received.
When considering whether you need to save some document, think of the old adage “better safe, than sorry” and keep it just in case.
3. Meet with a New Mexico Personal Injury Attorney
Seeking legal advice is always a good idea when contemplating filing a personal injury claim.
Sometimes you may be able to settle a minor claim on your own if there is little damage and no injuries, but most of the time, the process can be complex and fraught with road bumps.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate your claim from inception through settlement.
To proceed with a lawsuit, you must follow time restrictions, legal requirements, and evidentiary rules. A skilled lawyer can help you succeed!
4. Make a Settlement Demand
If you decide to pursue legal action, the next step is to provide a settlement demand seeking damages for your injuries.
You will discuss your injuries and the damages you desire with your attorney, and they will draft and send a settlement demand to the insurance carrier, defendant, or opposing counsel if there is one.
Usually, this is not where the case will settle but a starting point for settlement discussions. A vast majority of personal injury claims settle outside of court.
5. Initiate a Lawsuit and Continue Settlement Negotiations
You may consider filing a lawsuit if you cannot come to a settlement agreement. Once the case is filed, the discovery process will begin.
Here, there will be a thorough investigation of both sides of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident.
Your attorney may consult experts, depose witnesses, and request or subpoena documents during this time.
During the lawsuit, your attorney will continue settlement discussions with the defendant. Many jurisdictions also require the parties to participate in arbitration or mediation before trial.
6. Wait for Your Settlement Check
If you accept a settlement rather than proceed to trial, you should generally receive your check around 60 days after all settlement documents have been signed.
7. Proceed to Trial
The case will proceed to trial if the parties cannot agree to a settlement. Here, both parties have an opportunity to present their case.
It is the plaintiff’s (the injured party’s) burden to prove their case.
For instance, if the plaintiff alleges the defendant’s negligence caused the accident, then the plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant acted negligently.
If the plaintiff is successful, they may be awarded damages.
It is not uncommon for the order of these steps to vary case by case. For instance, sometimes, individuals initially file a lawsuit on their own before consulting an attorney.
That’s ok. No matter which path your case follows, the goal is to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact Our New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyers
If you are wondering how to file a New Mexico personal injury claim, look no further.
At Faddoul, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, we established our law firm in 1984, intending to get injured accident victims the compensation they deserve.
We have handled claims of all shapes, sizes, and complexity. Our injury attorneys are well-versed in the law and familiar with the New Mexico court system.
Let us put our experience to work for you.